MAPS TO THE STARS
(directed by David Cronenberg, 2014)
**** (out of 5)
> David Cronenberg is really one of our top tier directors. From the very beginning, he’s made uncompromising, sometimes ‘difficult’ films that tease, intrigue and fascinate. So it is with this little-seen gem.
. With this outing, a great director directs from a great script, with great actors giving great performances. Not a great film, it stumbles occasionally, but it is a great effort. This is a vicious love letter to the culture of Hollywood celebrity that goes from darkly funny to just dark. Because it is a Cronenberg film, is veers into some very uncomfortable territory, gleefully. That is simply what the man who brought the world VIDEODROME does.
. Good thing! Despite the occasional predictable outcome, MAPS TO THE STARS is a twisted and perverse journey through ego, obsession, incest, privilege and mental illness. Juliette Moore is simply wonderful in the lead as the petty, whiny movie star whose career is on a downward slide. No wonder. She is trying desperately to snag the role of a lifetime- playing her own famous mother in a biopic. This fine actress seems to get better and better with each passing film, and her performance alone is enough to suggest this film. To sweeten the pot, John Cusack has never been better as a popular celebrity “healer” and shameless promoter of his brand, and Mia Wasikowska as his deeply troubled daughter is just a knockout- as he pretty much always is. What a real talent this young woman is. You simply cannot take your eyes off Mia every second she is on the screen! I expect to see an amazing career ahead.
. But, as with… pretty much every Cronenberg film- be warned: it gets pretty intense near the end! This film is not a bed of roses- it’s a patch of thorns. Yet, his lucid skewering of Hollywood is a hoot to watch, and occasionally very acidly funny. An interesting exercise: as you watch the film, jot down every celebrity name that is casually dropped by craven, wanton wannabes to impress others. I wish I had. I’ll bet you end up with a long list!
. Wicked fun, this!
© Kevin Paul Keelan and lastcre8iveiconoclast, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kevin Paul Keelan and lastcre8iveiconoclast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.